By HDN Staff
NAPLES, Fla. May Cervi Nielsen, 74, died Dec. 4, 2001, of pulmonary fibrosis in a Naples, Fla., hospital.
She was cremated and interment was to take place in the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Denver next to her husband, Arthur Cervi.
May was born April 8, 1927, to Monte and Margie Burgess in Chinook. She attended grade school in Chinook and high school at the Ursuline Academy in Great Falls. She graduated in 1945. In high school, she studied art under Sister Raphael Schweda and went on to get her degree in art from the Loretto Heights College in Denver in 1949.
She married Arthur Cervi in Denver and continued her art studies at the Denver Art Academy and the Chicago Art Institute. On returning to Denver, May taught art in Denver high schools, gave private art lessons in her studio and was commissioned to paint portraits of prominent people in Colorado.
She studied ballet and folk dance, as well as stage and costume design, plus she assisted with productions and programs all around the Denver area and in Detroit and Toronto, Canada. After her husband died, May taught art in a French boarding school in Villars, Switzerland, plus she traveled and painted throughout the French, Italian and Swiss countryside.
She returned to Denver where she had many one-woman shows, plus gallery showings of her artwork. She was well known for her outstanding oils, watercolors, and pastels of European scenes, and her beautiful portraits. She then taught school and painted in Haiti, St. Thomas, the Virgin Islands and Miami.
She married William Nielsen of Korsor, Denmark, in St. Thomas and they moved to Denmark. After he died, she returned to the United States and lived in New Orleans and Naples, Fla.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husbands, and one sister, Elizabeth Wilshusen of Nevada City, Calif.
Survivors include her daughter, Dr. Diana Ortiz of Galveston, Texas; brother, Tom (Carole) Burgess of Charlotte, N.C., sisters, Nancy (Bob) Inman of Chinook and Shirley (Jack) McCollum of New Orleans; numerous nieces and nephews.